Saturday, October 13, 2007

Suzuki Violin Workshop with Judy Blank

Last weekend, Benny and Sadie attended a workshop with Judy Blank, a fabulous Suzuki expert from Ann Arbor, MI. The workshop included group classes, violin-related art classes, play-ins, and a master class with Mrs. Blank. It was a great experience for them, and also very interesting for me.

Watching the master classes was pretty incredible -- Mrs. Blank was like a doctor -- listening to each child play one song, diagnosing some certain issue, and giving the child a small, specific change that they could make in just a few minutes to improve their playing. Of course, all of this had to happen while using the most positive language, never making the child feel criticized or like there was something wrong. It was amazing how she accomplished this in such a short time with each child -- every one of them made a noticeable improvement. Truly a gift.

Here are some videos and pictures from the weekend:

Sadie was the smallest in her group and also the only girl! Sadie's group class with Mrs. Morton:

Mrs. Morton's early book one class doing Perpetual Motion:

At the first Play-in, playing Allegro like mosquitoes and elephants:

Benny and Mrs. Blank playing the first Seitz in Suzuki Book 4. Mrs. Blank had lots of silly stories to go along with the music, to help the kids understand the phrasing. We particularly enjoyed the one for Gavotte in G Minor which was all about the death of multiple goldfish.

More videos on my YouTube Channel.

Here's Sadie in her art class:

Benny and Sean hanging out between classes:

Sadie's group class:

Benny standing up for Seitz at the final play-in:

Benny and Mrs. Blank:

More photos on my Flickr.

We were very grateful for the experience. It made for a very interesting weekend. I think all the kids had a great time and will be looking forward to next year.


  1. Anonymous12:54 PM

    Really, really delightful. Delightful children. Delightful Mrs. Blank.

  2. Sounds like a great workshop! And how cool that there are so many little boys in the pre-Twinkle class. Around here we make a serious effort to preferentially encourage the boys and we're still just running about 50:50.

  3. Wow. What an incredible experience! I'm dripping with envy, though... We don't have that kind of opportunity come up anywhere near us, and I'm positive William would love it, too. Benny did a great job on Seitz, and boy, can Sadie pass that cup!! :)

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  5. My dd16 has gotten great joy from playing the violin. Although she did not begin lessons until age 11, it was her idea from the start and she has pursued it with zeal. It's not an easy instrument to play, either!

  6. Wow, like others have said, what an incredible experience!! I've heard so many good things about Suzuki violin...

  7. Is it my imagination or do the children not have their violins taped for finger positions?

    SuperParents on Suzuki Violin

  8. Hi Colin,

    Some do and some don't.

    My son Benny got rid of his tapes very early because he didn't need them. Some kids keep them for years. My daughter is now six, nearing the end of book 1 and has one tape for her third finger. So it really varies with the child, and the teacher. :)

    I read and enjoyed your post, by the way! :)